Cool Metal Jewelry

I’m not a big jewelry person. I wear the same necklace and earrings almost every day, but there is something truly cool and unique about these handmade metal pieces. They have that polished-but-not-trying look that makes them feel confident yet subtle. Their natural hues make them a good match for almost any outfit. 
The cuff is from Studebaker Metals, a metalsmith workshop located right here in Pittsburgh. Everything they make is hand forged using antique anvils and classic methods. You will not find anything quite like their timeless, high-quality pieces anywhere else.
The necklace is from Ten Thousand Villages, a store that sells fair trade crafts and housewares from makers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. There is one located right on Forbes Avenue in Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh.

Turquoise Tassel Earrings

 H&M Blouse / J.Crew Skirt via Avalon Exchange / Baublebar Earrings / Calvin Klein Shoes via Marshalls

Tassel earrings are one of my favorite trends this summer. I got mine from Baublebar and I love the bright turquoise. The pop of color pairs well with everything in my summer wardrobe. And because they are so long, they’re actually visible when I wear them with my hair down. They’re great for jazzing up a work outfit, but they’ll be even better at the beach this summer.

Minimalist Style

Details: Coat / Pants / Shirt / Shoes / Brilliant Earth Necklace, Ring and Earrings
As I get older and more mature, I am becoming much more sure of my style and tastes. Lately that means I am longing for simple style that is not over complicated. I look much harder at the quality of an item and its lasting power in my wardrobe. I long for a wardrobe with many tried and true reliable staples, but I also see room for some wow-factor pieces that bring excitement to even the simplest of outfits.  If I had to define my style, it would probably by something to the effect of everyday style with a twist.
When I am structuring my outfits I like to keep my jewelry simple so I can let those wardrobe staples or wow-factor items really stand out. These minimalist selections from Brilliant Earth could easily become everyday staples — and the diamonds are conflict free. I am completely smitten by the rose gold moon earrings. They would be the perfect little piece of intrigue for a brunch date or shopping trip.

Wild for Fox Jewelry

The last wearable animal motif I owned was probably a cat sweater. I know, I wouldn’t be friends with me either. But after seeing this Burberry fox ring, my love of whimsical animals was turned on once more, and I have been obsessed with finding a more achievable option. Luckily, any one of these regal pieces would pair well with rich fall colors and fabrics. Looks like I’m in the lion’s den no more…

Etsy spotlight: Geauga Roots

My jewelry collection has needed some organization for a while now. I think I even had plans to make my own organization system. That was months ago. So when I found out that my cousin was making these jewelry organizers and selling them on Etsy, under the store name, Geauga Roots, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. She takes vintage and used materials and recycles them to create these beautiful jewelry holders that can be either standing or hung. At $24 these would make great last-minute Christmas gifts or at this point, after-Christmas gifts for yourself. I bought the black and white design pictured above, and I love it. Here are more pieces available in her shop:

S|Bella Jewelry

I first heard about S|Bella Jewelry from Katie, and immediately loved the idea of mixing vintage pieces with modern materials and beautiful gemstones. These pieces are all handmade by the talented Jenny Schretter. I recently got the opportunity to ask the DC-based jewelry designer some questions and found out what inspires her, who her style icons are, and what her favorite piece is from the Harriette Collection.

I love the idea of combining vintage pieces of jewelry with contemporary stones and gems. It’s one of those ideas I wish I would have thought of myself because it makes so much sense. How did you think of it?

I wanted to create custom pieces exclusively around melding the rich history and uniqueness of vintage period pieces with fresh, romantic, edgy, modern style and for most of the designs, I found that incorporating contemporary gemstones was the perfect bridge for that. When I get really lucky on a scouting trip, I’ll find very rare c1950 Mediterranean salmon-colored coral or c1930 Amethyst faceted nuggets and that is incredibly exciting to be able to use as well.

How did you first get interested in jewelry design?

I’ve always been happiest when I’m creating things, piecing things together, and admiring/trying on/collecting anything that involves jewelry. After college, I moved to the SoHo district in NYC and worked in finance. I lived a block away from Prince Street and would stop by jewelry vendors all the time on my way home from work and on the weekends to see their new creations. I was so intrigued by all of it. One day, I stopped by a vendor whom I was a regular customer of, and asked if he could change out certain parts of one necklace with the stones and chain of another piece. We both loved the end result. Thereafter he started asking me for my opinion and suggestions regularly. One day he said to me very matter-of-factly, “You should be a jewelry designer.” To be honest, I didn’t even think it was a feasible option at that point because I had no formal training and I was already working in finance but that didn’t stop me from taking a moment to say “I wish”…and truly mean it. I started teaching myself beading and wire technique and began making pieces on the side as a hobby. As soon as I started, I couldn’t stop. Making and designing jewelry became an incredible passion of mine and the activity that made me the absolute happiest. When strangers started approaching me on the subway about where they could buy the earrings I was wearing, I just thought, “You know what…why not?!” and launched S|Bella very shortly thereafter.
What inspires the different designs?
I get inspired by the actual vintage pieces themselves, as well as the juxtaposition of different textures, colors, and materials. I have a mental catalog of my inventory – and as crazy as it may sound – a lot of the time, designs will morph out of those and I’ll run home to make it or wake up in the middle of the night to write or draw it out so that I don’t forget. I love playing around with all of the materials and being able to use my eye for what color stones/chain combinations I think would look best. I make the pieces to be transcendent of any trends – something that you want to wear a month from now, a year from now, seventy years from now.
What is your favorite stone or gem to work with/wear?
I’ve made about thirty new pieces and counting since the launch of the site, and lately I’m really loving pyrite and citrine. The gold detailing on the stones match beautifully with the vintage costume chain that I work with.

Who is your style icon?

 I think both Rachel Bilson and Sienna Miller have impeccable, amazing style. I think style should be expressive of who you are as a person, and have the ability to make you feel strong, beautiful, capable, smart, and confident.
Who are your favorite clothing/jewelry designers?
For jewelry, I love unique pieces that make a statement. I have a lot of respect for Erickson Beamon and Camilla James and think they do really amazing work centered on eye-catching designs that say something. As for clothing, I adore Alice + Olivia, Stella McCartney, Pencey dresses, Helmut Lang’s edge, and I think James Perse and Alexander Wang T-shirts are probably the most comfortable things ever made.
What is your favorite piece from your current collection and describe the perfect outfit to go with it:
That’s a really tough one – there are too many to choose from! The Thelma necklace is one of the most unique designs I’ve made and I’m really proud of it. It’s always a huge conversation starter whenever I wear it and it looks amazing on everyone. For the Fall months, I’d pair it with a pair of skinnies, a v-neck and a fitted blazer or leather jacket, polished off with a pair of boots (I love Sam Edelman and Frye) for an effortlessly chic look that can be worn day to night.

This first collection will be available exclusively through retailers (which are in the process of being solidified and will be posted on the website very shortly) because every piece is one-of-a-kind as a result of the unique, premium vintage materials that are used. However, interested customers can order their very own one-of-a-kind, custom-made piece(s), which will be designed exclusively for them by contacting Jennifer at:

Some ladies with style for a change…

I imagine you love staring at pics of me everyday, but that’s bound to get boring after a while. And Vanessa Jackman’s blog is full of great inspiration. Both of these photos had me intrigued for similar reasons. The nonchalant hair looks effortless and the outfits are both pretty simple except that they have been accessorized perfectly. Photos 1&2: see scarf and ballet flats; photo 3: see piled on necklaces and bangles. This makes them extremely chic, yet very easy to recreate: score!

This weekend should be very relaxing. I am going birthday shopping with my mom and sis tonight, and some peeps are coming over Saturday for dairy queen ice cream cake. However my actual birthday isn’t for another week or so. It’s a long story. Have a great weekend!

Etsy Find: Black Satin Shoes

Black Satin Shoes is an Etsy shop that I have recently discovered. Chante makes and sells headbands, hair and shoe accessories, and jewelry. The pretty flowers, peacock feathers, and bows all encompass this cute, girly vintage look that I love. And it is all really affordable.

Chante took the time to answer some questions for me:

CP: Is this your full time job?
BSS: My full time job is gong to school but Etsy does take more time since its just little ol’ me making everything. It actually brings in more money than when i was working so in a way it is my job.

CP: What inspires your designs?
BSS: I find inspiration everywhere! Lately whenever I see gardens I think of tons of new hair accessories that i want to make for spring.
Shoes really inspire me. I either want to make shoe clips to go with a certain style or make shoe clips based off a certain style. Its my obsession right now.

CP: How long have you been doing this?
BSS: I have only been doing this for a year. I just had my one year anniversary with Etsy on the third of this month, but October is when I really had my shop fully representing me so it took a while to get it going.

Thanks Chante! Visit Black Satin Shoes for more.